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About Arthur C. Emlen (Emeritus)

Joining the School of Social Work faculty at Portland State College in 1965, Art Emlen taught child welfare and research methods and supervised student research in the Master’s program. Portland State became a university in 1969. In 1973, Dr. Emlen became director of its new research institute—the Regional Research Institute for Human Services (RRI)—and was director until he retired in 1989. As professor emeritus, he continued his research through or in partnership with the University, finally closing his office after nearly 50 years.

His research in child welfare addressed issues of family permanency for youth in foster care. His childcare research focused on how working parents make their work, family, and childcare arrangements, how they manage, and how they make their decisions. His research was supported mostly by grants and contracts from the United States Children’s Bureau, the U.S. Child Care Bureau, and employers sponsoring employee surveys. After becoming Emeritus, Dr. Emlen continued this research for several years through a company, Arthur Emlen & Associates, Inc., that operated in partnership with the RRI and Portland State, reaching more than 50,000 employees at 125 companies and agencies in 25 cities and 13 states. Then he dissolved the company to be principal investigator of a grant from the U.S. Child Care Bureau: the Oregon Child Care Research Partnership. Its chief project was to measure “Quality of Child Care from a Parent’s Point of View,” based on data from surveying employed parents. The culmination of this research is reported in Solving the Childcare and Flexibility Puzzle (2010).

The selections highlighted below were chosen by Art Emlen. A full listing of Dr. Emlen’s scholarly work can be found in his current curriculum vitae.


Present Professor Emeritus, Portland State University School of Social Work
Founding Director, Portland State University Regional Research Institute

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

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Articles (3)

Books and Monographs (4)

Chapters (4)

Presentations (2)